If you’ve ever experienced growing your own humble selection of vegetables in a small patch, then you’ll know that radishes are the easiest to start with. They are the vegetable to grow if you are a novice gardener, yielding a satisfying crop in less than 4 weeks. In fact if you forget to pick the tender leaves soon enough they grow so fast that it feels as if they are taking over your garden, preventing the sun rays to reach other tender seedlings. For a bowl of pink bright radishes, you’ll get almost trice or quadruple amount of leaves, slightly hot, stingy and bitter. The first time I picked them, I had a really bad rash for a couple of days; I now know to use gloves!
Determined to put the leaves to good use, I have dedicated the next (three!) posts to using those radish leaves. I will write more about their health and nutritional values in the next post.
The salad recipe below is totally delicious, nutrient dense and packed full of flavour to excite your taste buds. The sourness from the lemon marries beautifully with cumin’s bitterness and the heat and crunch from radishes combined with the broad beans and avocado’s creaminess is a sure way to balance it all together. I had it by itself, however, a piece of good bread would help soak up the lovely juices.
Avocado, quinoa, radish and broad bean salad – serves 3-4 – Adapted from Plenty
Notes: Couscous, or any other similar grain would make an excellent replacement to quinoa. Any left-overs are still good the next day, but bear in mind you’ll loose the pleasant crunch from the radish.
- 100 g quinoa (I used the fair trade tri-coloured variety)
- 250 g shelled broad beans (fresh or frozen)
- 1 medium lemon
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1 garlic clove, crushed (optional)
- 100 g breakfast radishes, halved lengthways (or any other variety)
- 20-30 g cress or radish leaves, thinly sliced and chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil
- pinch of chilli flakes, optional
- salt and pepper to taste
Place the quinoa in a saucepan with plenty of water, bring to the boil and simmer for 8 minutes. Drain in a fine sieve, rinse under cold water and leave to dry.
Throw the broad beans into a pan of boiling water, bring back to the boil and simmer for about 3 minutes or so. Drain in a colander and leave to dry. I like my broad beans cooked well, with a slight crunch.
Take the lemon and use a small sharp knife to slice off the top and tail. Stand each one on a chopping board and cut down the sides, following the natural curve, to remove the skin and white pith. Over a large mixing bowl, cut in between the membranes to release the individual segments into the bowl. Squeeze the juice from the membrane into the bowl with the segments.
Peel and core the avocados. Slice thinly, then add to the bowl and toss to cover in the lemon juice. Once the quinoa is dry, transfer it to the bowl and add the broad beans, garlic (if using), radishes, half the cress, the cumin, olive oil, chilli flakes (if using) and some salt and pepper. Toss very gently, without breaking the avocado. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Plate and garnish with the remaining cress, or radish leaves.